29th April 2020
We spoke to Stafford College's Curriculum Manager in Sports & Public Services, Mark Kent, to find out more about his past experiences and why he loves working for the College.
Q: How did you get in to Sport & Public Services?
A: My original ambition was actually to be a Physiotherapist following a pretty bad knee injury that required 3 separate surgery procedures in the space of five months at the age of 15 to 16. Despite being in a lot of pain and miserable that I suddenly could not play football or keep up with my fitness, I was amazed by the work and care of the NHS and the physiotherapy I received. But it was following a work placement alongside my college studies at my former Secondary School where I found my career pathway. I was quite simply smitten and amazed at the power that working in education could have on a young person’s life. There are not many career pathways where you can have transformational impact on someone’s ambition and aspirations. That year long placement shaped my decision to achieve qualified teacher status and specialise in Sports and Public Services.
Q: Tell us about your experiences before joining the college.
A: Prior to joining the College, my background is linked to leisure services at Dimensions and Alton Towers Water Park. From there and after graduating I moved into Lecturing at a nearby college and also supported the PE Department at a behavioural, emotional and social difficulty High School. Immediately prior to joining Stafford College I had several years’ experience of Secondary School PE teaching in Stoke-on-Trent.
Q: What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?
A: Have a few career ideas, test them out through employment or placement, they may not be what you hope. Also, be resilient against knock backs, you will get a few, but learn from each one!
Q; Why did you decide to get into teaching?
A: Both my Secondary School PE teachers inspired me, they helped to shape my personality and values. Without question sport, fitness and endurance have an ability to transfer values unlike any other curriculum. Etiquette, dedication, communication, and seeing beyond your own agenda and aligning to those of a team are essential values I hope our learners take from the Sports and Public Services courses in addition to all of the key teaching, learning and assessment for their study programmes.
Q: What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
A: There are always temptations to take opportunities that you feel are the right ones at that moment but they could risk the achievements you hope to achieve in five years. At 18 I was offered a full time role that would have limited my chance to study at University. Fortunately I stuck to the plan and chose to balance my employment with my studies and succeeded at university. That decision to strike the balance between employment in that moment, with what I wanted to achieved later on in my life resulted in this moment of having achieved my goal of becoming a teacher.
Q: Do you think there particular attributes someone wanting to get into this industry needs to have?
A: To succeed in teaching you must have passion, knowledge, innovation and most of all a good sense of humour.
Q: What qualities make a teammate/player and good team captain/leader?
A: I am a firm believer that to lead or be a part of a great team then there must be trust and honesty across all facets. Titles or names don’t make leaders, everyone has the opportunity to drive positive change. I am fortunate to be in a great team with lots of passionate and innovative practitioners making positive change to their practice and learners opportunities every day. All our team ask is to recognise the areas to develop which we all have, strive to improve and always take the time to appreciate the good practice.
Q: How does being an athlete make you a better person?
A: Athletes have to consistently ask questions of themselves and reflect on their performance and reactions all of the time. Reflecting on whether they did enough, how they reacted positively or negatively to certain situations is a very powerful tool to enable change
Q: Are you a member of any clubs outside of work?
A: Unfortunately I am at an age now where my boots are firmly hung up, I enjoyed some incredible moments with some great local Saturday and Sunday football teams over the years. For now I focus on coaching at a range of local clubs and regarding fitness the focus is firmly on trying to keep my waist size in inches from far exceeding my age in years
Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the Sports/Public Services industry?
A: Go for it, and commit 100%. Both industries are exciting, vibrant and a key part to our countries character. Prepare to work hard, set yourself apart from the crowd by going above and beyond to ensure you achieve your goals. I wish you every success and there is no better place to begin your journey than with the team at NSCG, it’s official, we’re outstanding…
If you're considering studying Sports or Public Services with us here at Stafford College, visit https://nscg.ac.uk/study/course-departments/sport-public-services for more information.